The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Thirteen-year-old Luna wasn't always magic. She was accidentally "enmagicked" by Xan, the goodhearted witch who rescued her when she was abandoned as a baby in the annual "Day of Sacrifice," a tragic practice of the Protectorate, or the City of Sorrows, a dismal, foggy place inhabited by "a subdued people, a compliant people, who lived their lives in a saddened haze."

Even before she "drank the moon" and its powers, Luna, with her black hair, black eyes and "calm, probing, unsettling gaze," was different from other babies. Rather than finding new parents for the child, Xan decides to raise Luna herself in the forest home she shares with a bardic swamp monster, Glerk, and Fyrian, the endearingly cheerful, pocket-sized "Simply Enormous Dragon." Luna grows up to be "a tangle of mischief and motion and curiosity," and, as a teenager, her untamed magic is getting dangerous. Worse still, a brave but misguided young man from the City of Sorrows, seeking to abolish the tradition of baby sacrifice, is coming to kill the Witch, and Luna's mother, mad from grief and imprisoned in a tower, is plotting her way to the forest, too.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon takes a probing look at social complexity and the high cost of secrets and lies, weaving multiple perspectives, past and present, into one cleverly unfolding fairy tale. Kelly Barnhill (The Witch's Boy; Iron Hearted Violet) crafts wonderfully imperfect characters with poetic prose, warmth and wit. The resiliency of the heroes may be partly because of magic, but also because of critical thinking, empathy, deep love and the strength of family in all its unconventional manifestations. Thoughtful and utterly spellbinding. --Kristianne Huntsberger, writer, storyteller and partnership marketing manager at Shelf Awareness

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